Dell XPS 15 combines beauty and performance in one sleek package
By Chong Jinn Xiung June 29, 2017
- Gorgeous laptop that packs a good-looking touchscreen display
- Holds a surprising amount of power with entry level Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU
IF YOU are in the market for a 15-inch laptop, you may be in luck because Dell’s XPS 15 is one of the best value for money laptops you can buy right now.
The XPS 15 puts together a very compelling package that sets the bar high for a high-end laptop that features an attractive design, brilliant 4K display, featherweight and powerful specs to boot.
It has a notably smaller footprint than the average 15-inch laptop so if you are often on the road the XPS 15 won’t weigh you down.
Clad in a matte aluminium surface with a glossy Dell logo in black, the XPS 15 is a really good-looking laptop that doesn’t look out of place next to an Apple MacBook Pro.
The exterior feels very solidly built with its metal chassis and screen that hardly flexes. The interior, meanwhile, is lined with actual carbon fibre, so it isn’t just a textured sticker with carbon fibre patterns over plastic. This has resulted in a 15-inch laptop that is a lot lighter than it looks at just 2kg.
Speaking of the display, Dell has really outdone themselves in the display category with a gorgeous high-resolution Infinity Edge display that stretches almost to the four corners of the laptop. The colour gamut is incredibly wide and rich and you get amazingly rich true blacks.
Needless to say, whether you are watching a movie in high resolution, browsing the web, flipping through photos or playing games, this monitor looks really good.
Our review unit’s lavish 4K display also doubled as a touch screen display, providing an added level of interactivity with that, while not essential, is much appreciated nonetheless.
In the audio department, the XPS 15 does not fare so well as the built-in speakers sound very weak. It is a shame how it lacks volume and produces very flat, muddy and lifeless audio that doesn’t even do the typical YouTube video justice. Do yourself a favour and plug in some headphones to experience better sound.
As modern laptops get slimmer, the number of connectivity ports dwindle in the name of slimming down the product. Thankfully Dell has still managed to keep two standard USB ports, a full-sized HDMI out port, USB Type-C port, an SD card slot and even the good old 3.5mm headphone jack.
The XPS 15 has got you covered if you need to connect your laptop to an external monitor or devices like a keyboard and mouse for those times when you are at your workstation.
There is, however, one port that will be missed by those who prefer wired connections over WiFi, the Ethernet port. The only way to connect one now is to get an adapter for either the USB or USB Type-C port.
There is even a handy battery meter, something highly uncommon in this day and age, that cues you on how much juice the XPS 15 has at any time, even with the lid closed.
You get a full-sized keyboard with the XPS 15 complete with white LED backlighting, which is great if you need to get work done in the dark. The keyboard layout is nice and comfortable, key travel was terrific as this reviewer typed this review out on the XPS 15.
It is nice to see that the laptop includes a generously large matte soft-touch material trackpad that matches the interior of the laptop and feels comfortable to use. Its accuracy is pretty amazing and is good enough for use if you don’t carry a mouse with you.
If you do a lot of video conference calls, you may be perplexed and not too happy with the placement of the webcam. With the Infinity Edge display taking up so much space, this has forced Dell to shift the webcam to a less than ideal position below the screen.
The placement means that you will get a rather unflattering low angle view of yourself during video chats. If this proves to be an issue your only choice is to get an external USB webcam and perch it on top.
As far as specs go Dell has refreshed the XPS 15 with enough bells and whistles that it is a compelling choice for a laptop in the middle of 2017.
There are plenty of options to configure if you are on a tight budget, but for the purpose of our review Dell provided us with the following specs: a seventh generation Intel “Kaby Lake” processor, an Intel Core i7-7700 CPU to be exact, with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB solid state drive (SSD).
While the predictable bump up in processor is expected each year, the big upgrade this year was the inclusion of Nvidia’s latest generation graphics, GeForce GTX 1050 GPU. If you are not in the know, the GTX 1050 is touted as being capable of running games at medium to high settings with the resolution scaled down to full HD.
While you are not likely to play the latest PC games at 4K resolution, you can still play first-person shooters like Doom at decent frame rates at full HD resolution, which isn’t half bad for a laptop that isn’t marketed as a gaming laptop.
So long as you can accept the fact that the XPS 15 won’t play VR games or games with the most bleeding edge graphics, you should get along fine with it.
One surprise was just how cool the XPS 15 remained even as it ran graphically demanding games, the fans were spinning faster and audibly but it was still cool to the touch.
As far as battery performance goes the XPS 15 offers above average stamina for a laptop of this class and size.
Your mileage with the XPS 15 varies greatly depending on what sort of work you are using it for. It is safe to say that you will get about four to five hours of usage when you casually browse the Internet, which is great if you want to get some work done at the local coffee shop.
If you are opting for an XPS 15 with a lower full HD display. your battery stamina is likely to be better than the 4K variant.
Dell’s XPS 15 is a solid, flexible and reliable workhorse that may be pricey but it is worth the price of admission if you want something that not only looks good but can be depended upon when you need it most.
The Dell XPS 15 is available in Malaysia and is priced between RM6,999 and RM8,888 depending on the specs.
A bigger screen packed into a compact body wins any day and it is great to get some extra screen real estate without having to worry about breaking your back carrying an extremely heavy laptop.
Admittedly, the speakers sound rather thin and lack punch but on a whole one can’t ask for more from a laptop like the XPS 15.
A well-balanced form factor, beautiful 4K display, great build quality and terrific specs make the XPS 15 one laptop productivity-focused users should seriously consider.